Silent Where the Bible is Silent

I was reared in the Church.  In fact, I cannot remember a time when my parents did not take me to worship on Sunday and Bible class on Wednesday.  From my youth, I can remember hearing our teachers and preachers say,  “We are people of the Word.  We speak where the Bible speaks and we are silent where the Bible is silent.”  From my experience, I have found that motto I learned as a child is part of our heritage in the churches of Christ.  From coast to coast teachers and preachers in congregations still affirm that we are people of the Word because we are speaking where the Bible speaks and remaining silent where it is silent.  But are we?

I have no hesitation in maintaining that we, as a fellowship, speak where the Bible speaks.  But I often wonder if we are in fact committed to remaining silent where it is silent.  The reason I wonder is I have witnessed both individuals and congregations binding, restricting, limiting, obliging, requiring and constraining those who are free in Christ to adhere to rules and regulations that are nowhere to be found within the pages of Scripture.  If we are people of the Word, shouldn’t we bind only that which God has bound?  How and when did “the way we have always done it” or “this has always been our practice” become part of the Christian canon?  If we are silent where the Bible is silent, why are our customs often as compulsory as the biblical text?

Being reared in the Church, I see the value and importance of traditions to local congregations.  Without them there would be chaos, but to truly be “people of the Word,” we must never lift them to the status of the text by binding them and, thereby, elevating them to the level of doctrine.  To obligate someone to do something when the Bible does not, is tantamount to “teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.”  I challenge you.  Let’s be people of the Word.  Let’s not only speak where the Bible speaks but be silent where the Bible is silent.  To God be the glory!



By Bobby R. Boaldin, Windsong Notes, Little Rock, AR


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